NEW ZEALAND Open winner Jake Higginbottom will play his first tournament as a professional this week at the NSW PGA Championship at the Mt Broughton Golf and Country Club in the state’s Southern Highlands.
The 19 year old Aussie golfer lived up to his long held potential on the weekend in Christchurch as an amateur but will face a tough task against the likes of Matt Griffin, former champion Craig Parry and big hitting Won Joon Lee.
Griffin is keen to make amends for a poor performance at the US PGA TOUR Q-school recently but will be buoyed by the just announced result of a court case he took against the Asian Tour.
Griffin, alongside fellow Aussie Terry Pilkadaris, Dutchman Guido van der Valk and Malaysia’s Anis Hassan, have won a year-long court battle with the Asian Tour after they were fined and banned from competing in Asian Tour events because they played on OneAsia.
The ruling out of the Singapore High Court directs the Asian Tour pay back fines and legal fees, while the players’ lawyer also said they may also be able to claim for damages as compensation for potential earnings lost.
“It’s great to get this judgment in our favour. All we ever wanted from this action was the right to play golf wherever we had earned the right,” Griffin said on Wednesday.
Aiming to finish the year on a high, Griffin will play the NSW PGA Championship as a lead in event to next week’s Emirates Australian Open and the subsequent Australian PGA Championship.
“So that’s now four years in a row failing at second stage [of Q School]” the Victorian golfer commented earlier. “I’ve tried everything to get that week right but it has never happened,”
“My goal now is to finish the year strong and win the OneAsia Order of Merit. If I can do that my Australian ranking will ensure I get to final stage and won’t need to play second.”
Also in the field this week are Bradley Hughes, Mitch Brown, Marcus Cain, Anthony Summers and rookie Professionals Ryan Fox, Matt Stieger and Ryan McCarthy.
Zac Stolz, son of 2011 OneAsia Order of Merit winner Andre, is among the pre-qualifiers who will also line up in the field.
A relatively unknown course for most of the field, this week marks the first time a PGA Tour of Australasia tournament will be played at Mt. Broughton.
Located deep in the heart of the Southern Highlands and less that 90 minutes from Sydney’s CBD, the Mt. Broughton course opened in November 1994 and has rapidly gained a reputation as one of the country’s top 100 golf courses. The championship layout is also one of the longest in Australia.
With a prize purse of $100,000 the 2012 NSW PGA Championship will tee off at Mt. Broughton Golf and Country Club from Thursday 29th November to Sunday 2nd December. Entry is free for spectators.
2012 NSW PGA Championship Leaderboard2012 NSW PGA Championship Leaderboard